Hearing voices is often associated with mental illness. But this belief doesn’t always reflect reality, with much research suggesting that many people who hear voices experience no distress and have never had contact with psychiatric services. Religious hearing of voices also has a tradition outside of what we might consider “pathological”: St. Augustine’s recognition of the voice of God, to use one very famous example.
Why do some of us hear otherworldly voices, while others don’t? According to a new study, it could be related to two factors: “absorption” and “porosity”, both of which concern our beliefs and experiences about how the mind interacts with the world. In work that spanned a range of faiths and cultures, the team examined exactly how porosity and absorption can facilitate different kinds of spiritual experience. Continue reading →